- Chris Paul is an impending free agent, but he doesn't conduct himself like someone who plans to leave Houston. He talked to The Crossover about his big summer, Hurricane Harvey outreach and the Rockets' dominance.
Chris Paul is handing out assists all over Houston.
The Rockets point guard, whose backcourt partnership with James Harden has vaulted his team to the best record in the NBA, is still managing to remain active in the Houston community. Back in November, Paul utilized an eBay auction to help raise money for Hurricane Harvey victims. That work has continued throughout the season, and late last month Paul unveiled a new library he helped rebuild through his foundation at C.E. King Middle School.
“I’m always asking how we can help,” Paul told The Crossover. “After Hurricane Harvey, there was so much devastation. The school I’m at now, C.E. King., the kids had to go share a school at Null Middle School. There are so many stories people don’t hear about. C.E. King kids were going to school from something like 7 a.m. to 11:30., then there was a 15-minute transition and the Null students would go to school. It’s amazing to see what happens when people truly care about these kids and put these kids first.”
Paul, despite moving to Houston only last summer, has made giving back to kids an important part of his time in the city, partnering with State Farm and NBA Cares to keep a focus on education after the effects of Harvey. Earlier this month, Paul caught up with The Crossover to discuss his philanthropy, his relationship with Harden, and more.
Rohan Nadkarni: Could you ever have imagined growing up being in a position to give back as much as you are now?
Chris Paul: As a kid, this isn’t at the forefront of your mind. As I got older and when I got to the NBA, and saw that I had an opportunity to impact lives off the court, that’s what my late grandfather was all about. Something my family taught me at an early age was giving back, and helping others. I wanted to early in my career. The very first thing I did after getting drafted I refurbished a court in my hometown in memory of my late grandfather. And I always say if I’m remembered by the lobs that I threw or the crossovers I did, that means I didn’t do enough.
RN: NBA fans are always focused on the offseason, sometimes more than the regular season. You’re on the last year of your contract, have you thought about the future at all?
CP: Not at all. I’m so focused on now. Everybody knows I want to be here.
RN: Is it fair to say you can see yourself in Houston for a long time?
CP: Absolutely. I love it. I love it here.
RN: If you could be commissioner for a day, and you could change one rule, what would you change?
CP: One rule. [Pause] We’d lower the goals. Yeah, yeah, so I could dunk a lot more.
RN: How have you and James Harden made things work together so fast? How have you had this much success this quickly?
CP: Communication. We talk about everything, the good and the bad. If you want something to work, you’re going to find a way to make it work. That’s what’s been amazing, not only with me and him, but with Trevor Ariza, or our coaching staff, with P.J. Tucker. The biggest thing that we talk about is communication. Good or bad, whether they want to hear it or not, we put it on the table.
RN: There’s the crazy stat about the Rockets’ record when you, James and Clint Capela all play. What is it about that group that’s so dominant?
CP: I don’t know, I don’t know. It’s funny, because everybody be talking about it. I mean you hear that record, they say it after games and stuff, but it’s really crazy, man. We don’t think about any of that. Like, seriously. We don’t be like, “Me, James and Clint playing, that means we must be going to win tonight.” We seriously say this after every game, every interview, we just hoop. You know what I mean? We don’t go into any game saying this is what’s going to happen tonight. We literally just figure it out on the fly. We just hoop.
RN: Are you able to have to have fun during all of this? How do you manage not to look ahead to the playoffs?
CP: Absolutely. And it’s not just because you’re winning games. We just really enjoy being around each other. The players, the coaching staff. We’re having a good time. I think the veterans that we have on our team, we don’t take anything for granted. We talk about everything. When we get to the gym, get to the game, we handle our business. It’s about us. That’s what we say before every game. It’s not about who we playing, it’s about us.
RN: I was listening to “Mixtape” the other day and Young Thug has that part where he says “I’m ballin on you like I’m Chris Paul.” I wouldn’t say you get shout outs in tons of rap songs. What’s your reaction when something like that happens? Do your kids hear that stuff?
CP: It is cool. It’s real cool, especially the music that you listen to, whether it’s Drake, whether it’s Wayne, Jay, all that stuff like that. My son he has heard it before. He’ll be like, “Daddy, they said you!”
RN: If you retired today, you would be considered one of the greatest point guards of all-time. With all the accomplishments you already have, can you explain why it’s so important for you to win a championship?
CP: Just cause, I mean, I can’t explain it to nobody. But if anybody who knows me, they can probably explain it better than I can. I’m just competitive. No matter what, I don’t care what it is, I want to win. It’s that simple.